Friday Love 10.19.18

Happy Friday! I can’t believe I missed the last week! I had every intention of getting on here to post but there is good reason I didn’t, I was exhausted. My older daughter had a late acting class Wednesday night then we had to be up early for her field trip to the Mission San Juan Bautista Thursday morning, which immediately after, she had rehearsal for her school play! It was a long couple of days. But I’m back with lots to share. I hope you enjoy today’s Friday Love!

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Mission San Juan Bautista

I was lucky enough to be able to chaperone my daughter’s field trip to the Mission San Juan Bautista last Thursday. We started with an early morning charter bus ride and the kids thought this was the coolest thing ever. We arrived at the mission almost two hours later but the long ride was worth it. The town itself was absolutely charming and I had the best time hanging with Lyla and her friends, and a couple of my mom friends. Neither Lyla or I had ever been to this mission and it was so fun to explore a town and place new to us. It was a great day with my big girl!

Art & Craft of Acting

For her birthday this year, my hubby and I gifted Lyla acting classes at our local theatre instead of a big gift. She has been wanting to take acting class for the longest time now but was not old enough to enroll (the age to start was nine). Well, since she turned nine this year we thought, why not? We love our local theatre and have taken a myriad of classes there since we moved to Tracy in 2014. I really cannot say enough wonderful things about the Grand or the classes/programs they offer. Lyla took the Art & Craft of Acting class for five weeks and her finale performance was on Wednesday. Now, these young kids didn’t learn a Disney play or anything like that. They tackled a murder mystery play, Blood on the Dining Room Floor, written by Gertrude Stein. This was tough stuff! The had to memorize some pretty long monologues but it was such a joy to watch them perform. The icing on the cake was that Lyla’s best friend also took the class. They had such a great time together.

Livermore Wine Trolley

Dates for my husband and I are very rare these days so I really cherish when we do get to have some one-on-one time. My in-laws gave us tickets to the Livermore Wine Trolley for Christmas last year and we finally got around to using them last weekend. We live about 20-30 minutes from Livermore and visit the wineries pretty often but we had never gone on the wine trolley. We booked ourselves on the 11:15 trolley this past Sunday and had a blast visiting three different wineries. I had never been to any of the three while my hubby had been to just one so it was nice to visit some new places.

Our day started early, dropping our kids off with their auntie then getting to downtown Livermore about 10:45. We were a bit early since we didn’t have to be there until 11am. Once we were settled in the trolley, we were off to our first winery, Wente Vineyards. Now, I have been to Wente’s smaller property many times but never to this one. It was breathtaking. I loved everything about the place and can’t wait to go back. From there we went to Tenuta Vineyards where our catered lunch was waiting. We enjoyed our lunch and tastings out on the beautiful patio. Our final stop was Tesla Vintners, which housed three separate wineries in the same outdoor location. We had a great day doing one of our favorite things, wine tasting!

 

Halloween Town

We took our girls to their first Halloween event this past weekend. We decided to check out the Halloween Town event that took place on Friday and Saturday at the old outlets in town. My kids love this time of year and love any excuse to dress up in their costumes. For me, it was really fun to see them in their costumes for the first time, and play with hair and makeup. They got some candy, some slime and got to ride the train. It was a great start to the big event!

 

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Friday Love 9.27.18

The last Friday of September! I am looking forward to saying good bye to this month and hello to October and hopefully some cooler temps. We hit 90 the past three days and I am just so over the heat.

I have to admit I don’t have much for today’s post. I actually just forgot to really document what I loved this week so I’ll be doing this on the fly… happy Friday!

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South Bay Travels

We spent the day in San Jose on Saturday and it was so fun. This is where we lived, and where my hubby was born and raised, before we moved to Tracy. We go pretty often since we have many friends and family that still live there but Lyla had specifically requested we go and visit our old favorite mall. She was four when we moved but still remembers going there with me, yes we went a lot. It’s a great mall! We had breakfast at Starbucks and perused the awesome Disney Store. We also hit up the area of town where we lived and played for many years, and where Lyla was brought home as a newborn. It was a great Saturday.

 

Bike Riding with Sophie

Sophie learned to ride her bike over the summer and now she really loves to ride. I jog along next to her and we have the best time. Simple pleasures!

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Halloween Jammies & Soap

This girl loves her some Bath & Body Works! Now where does she get that from ?? We were laughing for hours the other night when Sophie was putting on a Bath & Body Works commercial, selling their latest Halloween soap.

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Recused Pets Mural

During one of the ArtWalks over the summer, an artist was taking names of rescued pets for a mural she was painting. My first dog Crumpet was a rescue dog and I gave her name. It’s so fun to see the mural and my first dog’s name whenever we go downtown.

 

Friday Love 9.21.18

Here we are again! I feel like this week just flew by.  It was another busy one for us full of play rehearsals, acting classes, pottery classes, doctor appointments, and just life in general! I’m back again for another edition of …

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School Pictures

There is nothing I love more than a sweet school picture! My big girl Lyla is in 4th grade this year and I got her school pictures back this week. She is the so sweet, so smart and so loving and growing up way too fast for my liking! We are both very happy with how her picture turned out this year.

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Honey Garlic Shrimp

We’ve been in a dinner rut lately and after perusing Pinterest, I decided to make honey garlic shrimp on Tuesday. The marinade was super simple to put together, it cooked in about 5 minutes and it was so, so good. Both my girls loved it. I followed this recipe to a T except my hubby added some fish sauce. I served it with rice and broccolini. I will definitely be making this again.

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Groupon

It’s been a while since I bought anything from Groupon (like years) but this week, I made three purchases… in just a week! The deals were too good to pass up. I got an email at the beginning of the week with a 50% off code. I used it for a month of unlimited gymnastics classes for my younger daughter. I ended up paying only $14! Then, a day later they sent me a thank you email with a code for $10 off. I used that for four passes to a local museum and it was only $1.50!!! I also grabbed the Starbucks $5 for $10. I can never pass up a good deal and these were pretty good, thank you Groupon!!

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Edible Arrangements Smoothies

An Edible Arrangements store just opened up in our town. I’ve never thought of them as anything more than a delivery service of beautiful fresh fruit bouquets. Well I was wrong! We got a coupon for a buy one get on free smoothie, and again, because I can’t pass up a coupon or good deal, I took my girls there yesterday to get a smoothie. I totally forgot to take a picture of the smoothies but the they were good. You could choose off a small menu of flavors or create your own. My girls both opted to create their own and got strawberry banana and orange pineapple. Two smoothies for $5, score!

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Friday Love 9.14.18

We’ve had a pretty crazy week around here so I’m looking forward to some major relaxation this evening with the hubs and our girls. The temps didn’t get above 80 here the past couple of days and that has really put me in the mood for all things Fall! One of the things I love most about Northern California is the presence of actual seasons. I did not have that growing up in Florida, it was pretty much just hot all the time. Now, it won’t get really cold here until end of October/November but this little sneak peek of lower temps has me feelin’ pretty good, happy Friday!

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FALL DECOR

A couple of years ago, I decorated my house for Fall in September, took it down in October and put up Halloween, then took that down and put up Fall/Thanksgiving in November, and of course Christmas in December! It was quite a bit of work and so I didn’t do it last year but I found myself missing my decorations. Sophie and I got our Fall stuff out this week and it makes me so happy to see it, it’s Fall Y’all!

 

FALL COFFEE MUG

I’ve been on the search for a Fall mug. I have a Halloween mug and a Christmas mug but not one for Fall. Now my sensible husband couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t just get a regular mug that could last all year long… now what fun would that be? With a plethora of Fall mugs available at Target, Marshalls and Michaels, it took me a while to look around but I finally found it. This little cup makes me so, so happy. And the price (only $4 at Marshalls) made me even happier!

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CLASSES AT THE GRAND

We’ve been taking music classes at the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts since we moved to Tracy back in 2014. I cannot say enough good things about their art education program.  My girls just started two new classes there, well new to us. Lyla has wanted to take acting class for a few years now but was never old enough (age to start is 9). We gifted her with acting classes for her birthday this year and so far, she really loves it. Sophie started a pottery for preschoolers class and had her first session yesterday. I think it’s going be just like everything else they offer, great!

 

NEW MAKEUP FROM ULTA

I’ve used the Bare Minerals foundation powder for longer than I can remember. I really love that product but I’ve wanted to try something different for a while now. I feel like my skin has changed a lot and what I’m using now isn’t the right product for my face anymore. I worked for Clinique while I was in college and was pretty knowledgeable about makeup back then. Fast forward many years, and I feel like I know nothing at all! I headed into Ulta this week and after a great consultation, I left with three new products. I absolutely love them all! I decided to try a tinted moisturizer type of foundation and it’s working out wonderfully for me. I rely heavily on concealer and used to use a Bare Minerals one but the Ulta brand full coverage liquid concealer is awesome. I also picked up a hydrating face primer. This has been a game changer for me. It has helped my makeup and skin look so fresh. My budget for makeup is not what it used to be, nor would I want to spend a fortune on product these days anyways so the Ulta brand is perfect. They are high-quality products with an amazing price point. I’ve been loving putting on my makeup in the morning!

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HOMEMADE TUNA HELPER

I’ve always loved Tuna Helper. It’s a nostalgia thing – my stepdad would make it whenever my mom was out of town for work. I wanted to make a homemade version since we try not to eat many processed foods so I went searching online. This recipe was a hit with my family. I was worried how my kids would feel about it but my four year old even asked to eat it the next morning at 9am! I followed the recipe exactly but used whole milk instead of cream. It was so good.

 

 

 

 

Lyla Rae’s birthday interview – nine years old

My big girl hit her last year of single digits on Friday, August 10, 2018. How is this even possible? At times, I truly feel like she was born yesterday. It’s hard to put into words just how much I love her and just how proud I am of her. She is growing into such a poised, curious, passionate, talented and smart young lady. As much as I wish she was still my chubby little baby, being her friend and watching her grow is pretty darn amazing. Happy 9 Lyla Rae!!

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Lyla Rae, Age 9

Nickname: Pies

How old are you? 9 years old

What is your favorite color? Mint green

What is your favorite animal? Unicorn

What is your favorite book? Sideways Stories from Wayside School

What is your favorite TV show? Mia and Me

What is your favorite movie? The Greatest Showman

What is your favorite song? Come Alive from The Greatest Showman

What is your favorite food? In-N-Out Cheeseburger

What is your favorite drink? Root beer

What is your favorite breakfast food? Pancakes

What is your favorite snack? Fruit snacks

What is your favorite outfit? Workout pants and top

What is your favorite game? Mario Cart

What is your favorite toy? LOL doll

Who is your best friend? Chloe & Stefanie

What is your favorite thing to do? Talk to Chloe on FaceTime

What is your favorite thing to do outside? Swim in the pool

What is your favorite holiday? Christmas

What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Polar Bear and Unicorn

Where is your favorite place to go? The Villages in Florida

What is your favorite restaurant? Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville in Hollywood, FL

Where do you want to go on vacation? New York

What do you want to be when you grow up? A pastry chef

What did you do on your birthday? We had a unicorn birthday bash with seven of her friends. It was a pool party and her first big sleepover. It was such a fun night!

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Sophie Gray’s birthday interview – four years old

Per usual, I’m running about six months behind on birthday interviews AND also per usual, I live the mantra, its better late than never!! Sophie had her first party with friends this year and she was so incredibly excited. She has watched her sister have many friend parties and this was the year she really understood it. She and I planned the entire party together and I let her take the reins where as in the past, I may have tried to take over. She chose a very merry theme and really embraced her very close to Christmas birthday with Christmas sweaters, headbands, themed food, cupcakes and favors. All of her little friends had so much fun despite the cold temps.

Here is my sweet little four year old!!

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Sophie Gray, Age 4

Nickname: Soph

How old are you? 4

What is your favorite color? Orange

What is your favorite animal? Unicorn

What is your favorite book? Muddle and Match

What is your favorite TV show? Shimmer & Shine

What is your favorite movie? The Greatest Showman

What is your favorite song? When You Wish Upon a Star

What is your favorite food? Sausage

What is your favorite drink? Lemonade

What is your favorite breakfast food? Eggs & sausage

What is your favorite snack? Mini-muffins

What is your favorite outfit? Polka dot jean shorts, tank top and flip flops

What is your favorite game? Mii Fashion Plaza

What is your favorite toy? LOL dolls

Who is your best friend? Annabelle & Stella

What is your favorite thing to do? Play with LOL dolls

What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play in the pool

What is your favorite holiday? Halloween

What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Violet

Where is your favorite place to go? Florida

What is your favorite restaurant? Grimaldi’s Pizzeria in Palm Beach

Where do you want to go on vacation? Hawaii

What do you want to be when you grow up? Cupcake baker and rock climber

What did you do on your birthday? On Sophie’s actual birthday, we went to Dell’Osso farms and went snow tubing. She had her friend party at her favorite park a few days before her birthday.25552091_10155714775992254_7516327833362055567_n25659746_10155714776822254_5812866398599680826_n

New playroom

One requirement I had when looking at houses was a big space for the girls playroom. Our previous home had a great fourth bedroom that we used for their playroom and I knew, based on the amount of stuff they have and how often they used the room, that our new house must have a big space for the girls to play.

When I saw the fourth bedroom in our new home, I immediately marked it the playroom. It was a big, open space with lots of light, wood flooring and a bench seat that ran along almost the entire back wall. It has a fireplace, which I love but may be an accident waiting to happen (so far we’ve had no injuries), BUT with a fireplace comes a mantle and so much design potential. I can’t wait to hang Christmas garland there!

My husband really, really wanted to use this space as a media room but I had to remind him, we hardly ever watch movies and where would all the girls toys go? In the end, it became the new playroom and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. I still plan to order a castle shaped mirror to go under the princess gallery wall but other than that, the room is done. It’s such a beautiful, bright, happy space!

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Sophie Gray’s birthday interview – three years old

My sweet second baby turned three on December 23, 2013. She truly is the sweetest thing. Because of how close her birthday is to Christmas, my husband really wanted to do something special and we took her to Disneyland on her birthday. It was a whirlwind trip but she had the best time and is already asking to go back.

Happy 3 Sophie!

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Sophie Gray, Age 3

Nickname Soph

How old are you? 3 years old

What is your favorite color? Orange

What is your favorite animal? Giraffe

What is your favorite book? Muddle & Match Mermaid

What is your favorite TV show? Bubble Guppies

What is your favorite movie? Shrek

What is your favorite song? Chillin like a Villian from Descendants 2

What is your favorite food? French toast sticks

What is your favorite drink? Lemonade

What is your favorite breakfast food? Pancakes

What is your favorite snack? PB&J

What is your favorite outfit? Flower dress

What is your favorite game? Mario Party 8

What is your favorite toy? Corn Monkey and Corn Lion

Who is your best friend? Annabelle & Stella

What is your favorite thing to do? Play at the park

What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play with toys

What is your favorite holiday? Halloween

What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Corn Monkey and Corn Lion

Where is your favorite place to go? Disneyland

What is your favorite restaurant? Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville in Hollywood, FL

Where do you want to go on vacation? Mexico

What do you want to be when you grow up? Grown-up girl

What did you do on your birthday? We went to Disneyland!

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Lyla Rae’s birthday interview – eight years old

How can it be that my last post was a birthday interview a year ago? I really need to get better about blogging more than once a year, lol. But here we are again, conducting Lyla’s annual birthday interview. At least I’m doing it sooner two months after her birthday.

Lyla turned eight on August 10, 2017. It was a busy day because both girls had back-to-school night so our family party was a little rushed. We had a pool party for Lyla and her friends the next day. It was emoji-themed and so much fun.

Happy 8!

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Lyla Rae, Age 8

Nicknames Pies

How old are you? 8 years old

What is your favorite color? Mint green

What is your favorite animal? Unicorn

What is your favorite book? Rainbow Fairy chapter books

What is your favorite TV show? Cake Wars

What is your favorite movie? Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

What is your favorite song? Despacito by Daddy Yankee & Justin Beiber

What is your favorite food? Cheeseburgers

What is your favorite drink? Root beer

What is your favorite breakfast food? French toast sticks

What is your favorite snack? Fruit snacks

What is your favorite outfit? Dresses & Jojo bows

What is your favorite game? The Game of Life

What is your favorite toy? Nintendo 3DS

Who is your best friend? Stefanie Valle

What is your favorite thing to do? Play my DS and look at my iPad

What is your favorite thing to do outside? Swim in the pool

What is your favorite holiday? Christmas

What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Polar Bear

Where is your favorite place to go? Jupiter, FL (Grandma and Grandpa’s house)

What is your favorite restaurant? Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville in Hollywood, FL

Where do you want to go on vacation? China

What do you want to be when you grow up? Pastry chef

What did you do on your birthday? Opened small gifts, went to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast, gave out cookies to my class as a treat, had a small party at home with Mom, Dad and Sophie then had a emoji-themed pool party with friends the next day.

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Halloween 2015

We had quite the Halloween this year. Lyla got to wear her costume five days in a row! I know this was fun and exciting for her but quite a bit of work for mom – hello hair curling, hair color, glitter spray and full makeup five different times! But I’ll do anything for my baby. Our week started on Tuesday night when Lyla’s dance studio held a studio-wide costume contest. Lyla was so excited to wear her costume “officially” for the first time and she was determined to win the contest. She went as a Shopkin this year, the limited edition Cupcake Queen.

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On Wednesday, we headed to the Bass Pro Shop. We live about 20 minutes away and I have to say, I’m always very impressed with their special holiday events. The store is always beautifully decorated for each holiday, they offer one free 4×6 picture and have free crafts for the kids, I mean, how can you beat that?

Before moving to Tracy, I had never even been to a Bass Pro Shop. We went for the first time during Christmas last year and again for Easter. The girls love the store, its huge and there’s so much to see. They have a big fish tank and waterfall, a fun country store, its really neat but I have learned a few tips if you plan to go for a holiday event. Arrive EARLY! At least an hour early. We skipped the picture with Santa on our first visit because the line was out the door and this is a BIG store. For Easter, we came about 30 minutes early and were maybe 20th in line. For Halloween this year, we got to the store an hour before and were the first in line for pictures, the first! We got some popcorn, fudge and a drink from the country store, trust me, a little snack makes all the difference when waiting in line with children. They had the cutest set-up for Halloween and offered one free picture with characters from the Peanuts gang. Such a fun outing!

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On Thursday, Lyla’s Girl Scout troop had their Halloween party. She had a blast with her friends.

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Friday was the big Halloween celebration at school. She walked in the Halloween parade and showed off her costume to the entire school.

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The parade ends in the large field behind her school. All of the students (K-8) form a very large square. The school brings in a DJ and the kids get to watch the 8th graders perform to Thriller. It’s a really fun time. Afterwards, we spent the day in her classroom for her class Halloween party. It was a fun, but long day.

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On Friday afternoon/night, we did an easy Halloween craft (pumpkin magnets), carved pumpkins, made Halloween Rice Krispie treats, ate Jack-o-Lantern pizza from Papa Murphy’s and watched Hocus Pocus. That movie is one of my all time favorite Halloween movies and was worried about Lyla being too young to watch it and getting scared but she ended up loving it. It was a busy, exhausting but very fulfilling day.

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On Saturday, we had a very, yummy, festive Halloween morning breakfast. I used this amazing mix from William Sonoma and added orange food coloring and chocolate chips to make Jack-o-Lantern pancakes. A hit all around except that I forgot to pick-up syrup while at the grocery store and we only had enough for the girls pancakes…. wah, wah, wah. I put butter and cinnamon on mine and it was still good. Just had to work with what we had.

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We spent the rest of the day just being lazy and lounging around the house. I wanted to get ready in time to take some pictures outside but I underestimated how long it would take all of us to get ready and by the time we were, the sun had gone down – momFAIL! The lighting definitely wasn’t as good inside the house but at least we got our pictures. Only one kid smiling but you can’t win em’ all. I went as a baker and my girls were my two little cupcakes, my sweetest creations 😉

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We met up with some friends in our neighborhood and were ready to trick-or-treat! Because it rained last year, this was Sophie’s first experience trick-or-treating door-to-door. It didn’t take her long to figure out how to get the candy. We had such a fun time and Lyla filled her basket pretty quickly. It was a successful Halloween!

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